Category: Ancient Cilvilizations and Giants

Archaeologists astounded by tablet that ‘revealed first ever image of Tower of Babel’

ARCHAEOLOGISTS were astounded at being given unfettered access to a previously unseen site that revealed the “first ever image of the Tower of Babel”.

By JOEL DAY

PUBLISHED: 20:45, Wed, Aug 4, 2021 | UPDATED: 20:45, Wed, Aug 4, 2021

The Tower remains one of the most mysterious stories contained in the Bible. For years, whether or not the Tower was a real, physical thing was open for discussion. Many believed it was simply symbolic, acting as a message to the Bible’s dedicated followers.

Others claimed it was merely folklore or legend.

The fragile remains of the ancient city of Babylon, in modern day Iraq, have revealed many secrets; the greatest of all the discovery of a vast structure which ancient records suggest was the Tower of Babel.

These texts, as well as others found all around the Middle East – where Christianity originated – have given scholars some idea of what the building might have looked like.

Yet, none have given researchers a clear outline or description bound in solid imagery.

Things changed in 2017 when academics were given access to a privately owned tablet.

The artefact was explored during the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, ‘Secrets: Tower of Babel’.

Here, the narrator said: “Inscribed on the tablet is an image that sensationally reveals exactly what the Tower of Babel looked like.”

Dr Andrew George, an expert in ancient texts at SOAS, University of London, said: “This is a very strong piece of evidence that the Tower of Babel story in the Bible was inspired by this real building.”

The remarkable tablet, which had never been filmed before, dates to the 6th century BCE, and was discovered in Babylon over a century ago.

Yet, no one had realised how important it was until Professor George was given the slab, and went on to decipher the inscriptions.

He explained: “At the top part there is a relief, depicting a step tower.

“And here, a great figure of a human being carrying a staff with a conical hat on.

“Below that relief is the text which has been chiseled into the monument, and the label is easily read: it reads, ‘The temple tower of the city of Babylon’.”

As the narrator noted: “This tablet provides the first-ever image of the real Tower of Babel.

“It confirms the building was a Mesopotamian stepped tower and illustrates the seven tiers of the ancient megastructure.

“Significantly, it also clearly identifies the man behind it: Mesopotamia‘s most famous rule, King Nebuchadnezzar II.”

While the images are extraordinary, the tablet’s ancient text also revealed a detailed account of the tower’s construction.

And, more importantly, it goes on to tell of how Nebuchadnezzar went about building it.

Professor George translated the text for the documentary, and said: “It reads from the Upper Sea, which is the Mediterranean, to the Lower Sea, and that’s the Persian Gulf, ‘The far-flung lands and teeming people of the inhabitations I mobilised in order to construct this building of this ziggurat of Babylon’.”

The ancient account is identical to the Biblical story of how the Tower of Babel was constructed.

For scholars, the tablet offers further proof that the Tower wasn’t just a work of fiction, but an actual building from antiquity.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11664

VINES GROWING ON RETAINING WALL OF TEMPLE MOUNT SPELL OUT GOD’S NAME (YEHOVAH)

BY ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ | JUL 13, 2021 | BIBLICAL NEWS

In the days to come, The Mount of Hashem‘s House Shall stand firm above the mountains And tower above the hills; And all the nations Shall gaze on it with joy. Deuteronomy 28:10 (The Israel BibleTM)

Sometimes, prophetic visions can appear in plain sight and still go largely unnoticed. Such was the case when a post appeared on Tik Tok showing the eastern retaining wall of the Temple Mount, an area bordered by a major thoroughfare.

The ancient stones of Jerusalem host a variety of plant life including the prolific Throny Caper. Batya Vagshal, a religious Israeli woman, was shocked to see that the plants had grown to form the shapes of letters. The letters seemed to be ‘written’ in ktav ashuri, the calligraphy style used in writing sacred texts. Three letters were clearly seen: י (yud), ה (heh), ו (vav). These are, of course, the first three letters in God’s ineffable four-letter name (minus the final ה (heh).

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, ascribed the appearance of the letters to a verse in Deuteronomy:


And all the peoples of the earth shall see that Hashem‘s name is proclaimed over you, and they shall stand in fear of you. Deuteronomy 28:10


“This verse is clearly describing being able to see God’s name in Israel in the end of days,” Rabbi Berger said, explaining that this vision was also described by the Prophet Isaiah:

In the days to come, The Mount of Hashem‘s House Shall stand firm above the mountains And tower above the hills; And all the nations Shall gaze on it with joy. Isaiah 2:2

“God’s name will become visible, undeniably in front of everyone’s eyes, Jews and non-Jews,” Rabbi Berger said. “We have seen in so many ways recently that the ways of nature are no longer sufficient. Nature is now becoming a stage to reveal God’s hidden nature. These are the signs and the wonders that are just a taste of what is to come.”


“It is remarkable that this is appearing just as Israel is preparing to open its borders to tourists. God willing, by the time the tourists from the nations begin to arrive, the final heh will grow in. Very soon, all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem and will be able to see this, something they were not able to do for more than a year.”


Rabbi Berger emphasized that such signs will begin to be more common.


“It is not surprising that bushes will grow and spell out the name of God,” Rabbi Berger said. “The pandemic, all of the recent tragedies, are preparing us to be ready to see the messages that are appearing. Anybody can go outside in the morning and see the Name of God spelled out in clouds, hear it in the wind or the birds’ song. These things were always there but now they are becoming even clearer.”


“This is God’s mercy. It is impossible to see God’s name and not want to repent, to come closer to him. It is difficult to believe but even today, when we see unprecedented events, wonders and tragedies, there are those who refuse to call out to Him.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11581

A FIRST: RARE INSCRIPTION DISCOVERED DATING FROM TIME OF JUDGES,BEARS NAME ‘JERUBBAAL’

BY ISRAEL365 | JUL 12, 2021 | BIBLICAL NEWS

Early next day, Yerubaal—that is, Gidon—and all the troops with him encamped above En-harod, while the camp of Midian was in the plain to the north of him, at Gibeath-moreh. Judges 7:1 (The Israel BibleTM)

For the first time: an inscription from the time of the biblical Judges and relating to the Book of Judges has been recovered from excavations at Khirbat er-Ra‘i, near Qiryat Gat. The rare inscription bears the name ‘Jerubbaal’ in alphabetic script and dates from around 1,100 BCE. It was written in ink on a pottery vessel and found inside a storage pit that was dug into the ground and lined with stones.

The site, which is located at the Shahariya forest of the KKL-JNF, has been excavated every summer since 2015 and the current excavation season is its seventh. The excavations are being conducted on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, under the direction of Prof. Yossef Garfinkel, Sa‘ar Ganor, Dr. Kyle Keimer and Dr. Gil Davies. The program is funded by Joseph B. Silver and the Nathan and Lily Silver Foundation, the Roth Families Sydney, Aron Levy, and the Roger and Susan Hartog Center for Archaeology at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.

The inscription was written in ink on a jug – a small personal pottery vessel that holds approximately one liter, and may well have contained a precious liquid such as oil, perfume or medicine. Apparently, much like today, the vessel’s owner wrote his name on it to assert his ownership.

The inscription has been deciphered by epigraphic expert Christopher Rolston of George Washington University, Washington DC. It clearly shows the letters yod (broken at the top), resh, bet, ayin, lamed, and remnants of other letters indicate that the original inscription was longer.

Prof. Garfinkel and Ganor explain, “The name Jerubbaal is familiar from biblical tradition in the Book of Judges as an alternative name for the judge Gideon ben Yoash. Gideon is first mentioned as combatting idolatry by breaking the altar to Baal and cutting down the Asherah pole. In biblical tradition, he is then remembered as triumphing over the Midianites, who used to cross over the Jordan to plunder agricultural crops. According to the Bible, Gideon organized a small army of 300 soldiers and attacked the Midianites by night near Ma‘ayan Harod. In view of the geographical distance between the Shephelah and the Jezreel Valley, this inscription may refer to another Jerubbaal and not the Gideon of biblical tradition, although the possibility cannot be ruled out that the jug belonged to the judge Gideon. In any event, the name Jerubbaal was evidently in common usage at the time of the biblical Judges.”

Inscriptions from the period of the Judges are extremely rare and almost unparalleled in Israeli archaeology. Only a handful of inscriptions found in the past bear a number of unrelated letters. This is the first time that the name Jerubbaal has ever been found outside the Bible in an archaeological context – in a stratum dated to around 1,100 BCE, the period of the Judges.

“As we know, there is considerable debate as to whether biblical tradition reflects reality and whether it is faithful to historical memories from the days of the Judges and the days of David,” say the archaeologists. “The name Jerubbaal only appears in the Bible in the period of the Judges, yet now it has also been discovered in an archaeological context, in a stratum dating from this period. In a similar manner, the name Ishbaal, which is only mentioned in the Bible during the monarchy of King David, has been found in strata dated to that period at the site of Khirbat Qeiyafa. The fact that identical names are mentioned in the Bible and also found in inscriptions recovered from archaeological excavations shows that memories were preserved and passed down through the generations.”

The Jerubbaal inscription also contributes to our understanding of the spread of alphabetic script in the transition from the Canaanite period to the Israelite period. The alphabet was developed by the Canaanites under Egyptian influence in around 1,800 BCE, during the Middle Bronze Age. In the Late Bronze Age (1,550–1,150 BCE), only a few such inscriptions are known of in Israel, most from Tel Lachish near present-day Moshav Lachish. The Canaanite city of Lachish was probably the center where the tradition of writing the alphabet was maintained and preserved. Canaanite Lachish was destroyed in around 1,150 BCE and remained abandoned for
about two centuries. Until now, there was considerable uncertainty as to where the tradition of alphabetic script was preserved after the fall of Lachish.

The newly-discovered inscription shows that the script was preserved at Khirbat er-Ra‘i — roughly 4 km from Lachish and the largest site in the area at the time of the Judges — during the transition from the Canaanite to the Israelite and Judahite cultures. Additional inscriptions, from the time of the monarchy (tenth century BCE onwards), have been found in the Shephelah, including two from Khirbat Qeiyafa and others from Tel es-Safi (Tel Tzafit) and Tel Bet Shemesh.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11569

STUNNING DISCOVERY IN THE WORLD OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY SHOWS HITTITE STONE CARVINGS REVEALING AN UNDERWORLD BELOW THE SURFACE OF OUR EARTH

The paintings in the strange stone carvings of the Hittites, which were probably made about 3,200 years ago, include details of an “underworld” sitting beneath the earth. In the temple, discovered by French archaeologist and historian Charles Texier as early as 1834, limestone carvings depicting more than 90 different figures, including animals, monsters and gods, have been found. It took almost 200 years to decipher the paintings, but researchers have determined that the representations are of a cosmos that includes the Earth, the sky and the “underworld” that show the vitality of the creation myth.

by Geoffrey Grider June 22, 2021

Archaeological excavations at the Yazılıkaya Rock Temple of the ancient Hittites in Turkey, which began almost 200 years ago, revealed an ancient calendar and a map of an underworld sitting under our feet.

 

In the Bible, the Hittites were one of the many peoples and nations that God told Joshua He would give into the hands of Israel, as part of His land grant promise to Abraham back in the book of Genesis. Today comes the incredible news that is rocking the world of biblical archaeology of ancient stone carvings made by the Hittites, that shows a bustling and terrifying underworld lurking just under our feet. Just as the Bible declares the location of Hell to be.

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Joshua 1:1-5 (KJB)

For the past 200 years, biblical archaeologists have studied to decipher the meaning of these incredible stone carvings that date back over 3,200 years, so accurate that they correctly show the moon phases as well as any telescope we have here in 2021. The Hittites wanted people to know that there was a world underneath our world, which is absolutely true. But sadly, the Hittites worship many gods which are no gods, that served only to put them in the very place their stone carvings warn us about. Don’t be a Hittite, trust Jesus Christ and avoid the very real underworld completely.

Stunning Hittite archaeological find: Is there really an ‘underworld’ under the earth? Yep!

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: The paintings in the strange stone carvings, which were probably made about 3,200 years ago, include details of an “underworld” sitting beneath the earth. In the temple, discovered by French archaeologist and historian Charles Texier as early as 1834, limestone carvings depicting more than 90 different figures, including animals, monsters and gods, have been found.

It took almost 200 years to decipher the paintings, but researchers have determined that the representations are of a cosmos that includes the Earth, the sky and the “underworld” that show the vitality of the creation myth.

“THEY HAD A CERTAIN IMAGE OF HOW CREATION HAPPENED,” SAYS ZANGGER. HE SAYS THE HITTITES IMAGINED THAT THE WORLD BEGAN IN CHAOS, WHICH BECAME ORGANISED INTO THREE LEVELS: “THE UNDERWORLD, AND THEN THE EARTH ON WHICH WE WALK, AND THEN THE SKY”.

3200-year-old Hittite shrine in Turkey may be an ancient view of the cosmos

On one wall there are drawings of the goddess of the sun and the goddess of the storm, where one can see that gods were placed in the painting higher than the other figures. In contrast, on the eastern and western walls of the temple one can see the lesser people, the phases of the moon and the seasons, signifying “cycles and rebirth,” according to the researchers.

According to estimates, scholars estimate that in those days there were about 17 deities, each with a line marking between the gods. Also, in one of the rooms of the temple was a painting dedicated to the “underworld,” with testimonies of the god of the sword.

“We believe the temple fully represents a symbolic image of the universe, including its static levels – earth, sky and underworld, as well as the cyclical processes of renewal – day and night or summer and winter,” one researcher explained in an interview in an article published in the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11535

Archaeology news: ‘Incredible artefact testifies to the existence’ of Bible’s King David

ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence testifying to the Bible’s historic reliability has come to light, according to a scripture expert who believes an ancient Aramaic inscription found in northern Israel proves King David was a man of fact and not just myth.

By SEBASTIAN KETTLEY

PUBLISHED: 07:14, Mon, Feb 15, 2021 | UPDATED: 07:14, Mon, Feb 15, 2021

Very little is known about the life and reign of King David beyond what is written in the Bible. The archaeological record of his life is poor, although not entirely non-existent. According to the Hebrew Bible, young David slew the Philistine giant Goliath after which he was anointed King of the United Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

David went on to establish the Davidic Dynasty or the House of David, of which the Gospels claim Jesus Christ was a descendant.

Historians agree David lived during a golden era of prosperity in Israel’s ancient past, likely between 1010 and 970 BC.

David’s successor, King Solomon went onto become a mighty figure in his own right and the Bible credits him with the construction of Jerusalem’s First Temple in 957 BC.

But what evidence is there to support the Biblical narrative outside of scripture?

According to Tom Meyer, a professor of Bible studies at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, a major piece of evidence was uncovered by archaeologists at the ancient city of Dan or Tel-Dan in 1993.

The archaeological site, which sits near Israel’s border with Lebanon, was an Iron Age settlement built about 4500 BC and abandoned in 733 BC.

It was at Tel-Dan that researchers found a nearly 3,000-year-old inscription on the so-called Tel Dan Stele – stone slab – mentioning the fabled House of David.

Professor Meyer told Express.co.uk: “Up until 1993 to 1994 not one shred of archaeological evidence existed outside the pages of the Bible that mentioned the name of one of the most central figures of the Old Testament: King David.

“Though he is mentioned over 1,000 times in the Bible and is the author of 73 psalms, David didn’t show up outside the record of the Bible.

“This absence of evidence emboldened many to state that King David never existed and was a figment of the imagination of a post-exilic Jewish community who, after returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity in the fifth century BC, invented King David as a national figure which the fledgeling nation could rally around as they rebuilt their country.”

Philip R. Davies, the British biblical scholar, famously likened the myth of King David to the myth of King Arthur of Camelot.

But all of this changed when archaeologists identified the site of Tel-Dan at the foot of Mt Hermon in the Huleh Valley, northern Israel.

The archaeological site covers some 50 acres at an important junction of two ancient crossroads: The Great Trunk Route and the Via Maris.

Professor Meyer said: “In the gate of the city of Dan, three fragments of an Aramaic inscription were found when archaeologists were reexamining the city walls.

“The fragments date to about 100 years after the death of King David.

Archaeology news: The Tel-Dan stele mentions the House of David (Image: OREN ROZEN)

“They are a portion of a monument that was erected by Hazael, King of Damascus which he had inscribed with his proclamation of victory over ‘the House of David.'”

According to the expert, Hazael destroyed Israel and turned the kingdom into a vassal state.

The stele inscription was likely penned as a memorial to the accomplishment.

More importantly, however, it is the first time the term House of David was found outside of the Bible.

Professor Meyer said: “Once the Israelites regained control of Dan, they likely smashed Hazael’s monument.

“Later on, someone placed some of the broken pieces of the stele into the walls of the gate where they remained in their secondary use for over 2,800 years.

“Even though more of the stele is missing than has been found, a reconstruction of lines seven to nine read, ‘I killed Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel and I killed Ahaz-iahu son of Jehoram king of the House of David.’

“This incredible artefact, now on display at the Israel Museum, testifies to the existence of the founder of the Davidic Dynasty, once again demonstrating the historical accuracy of the Bible.”

There have been, however, some challenges to this interpretation of the stele.

Author Daniel Pioske, for instance, has argued in his book David’s Jerusalem: Between Memory and History, the inscription references a dynasty from the southern Kingdom of Judah that traces its lineage to a founder named David, and not necessarily the Biblical king.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11363

The Anasazi and Anakim: Nephilim Ruins and Evidence of Ritual Murder

Across the ancient world, from the rocky deserts of the American West all the way to the shores of the Mediterranean, enigmatic parallels between ancient myths and archaeological sites are emerging. One such parallel exists between the Anasazi people of North America and the Anakim of the ancient Near East, the land of Canaan. Deciphering this conundrum is a difficult challenge when viewed through the opaque lenses of biases, cultural taboos, and overlapping civilizations, all buried under the sands of time and blanketed underneath a fog of mystery.

Who were the Anasazi? The term Anasazi is a xenonym used primarily by the Navajo people, which has been variously translated as “ancient ones” or “ancient enemies” or “ancient ancestral enemies.” This refers to a genetic and culturally unique group who were hostile towards the ancestors of modern tribes, and who dominated the American Southwest in ancient times before other tribes displaced them.

Different Native American tribes like the Paiute and Hopi make references to this same group in their traditions. The daughter of Paiute Chief Winnemucca, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins wrote about who her people called the Si-Te-Cah in her book Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims . The Paiute oral tradition holds that the Si-Te-Cah, were a race of red-haired, cannibalistic giants who the Paiutes exterminated long ago.

Who were the Anakim? According to scholars, when the Hebrews completed their forty years of wandering through the Sinai desert they finally arrived in the promised land of Canaan, which was already occupied by a race of fearsome giants, whom we now call the Anakim. The Book of Numbers (13:32-33) recounts a story of twelve spies sent on a reconnaissance mission into the Anakim area. “And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

This term, Nephilim, is one of the most disputed words in the history of biblical scholarship. They are also known as the Anakim, however, the etymologies are all relatively flimsy. But the wealth of context clues makes it quite clear that this was a race of giant warriors who preceded the arrival of the Hebrews into Canaan, very similar to the Native American Anasazi tribal stories.

Ancient Historical Sources About the Nephilim Or Anakim

In the early Greek interpretations the word Nephilim was translated as “giants.” Other, later translations include “fallen ones,” and “appointed ones or overseers,” and “bound ones, or prisoners.” The first mention of the Nephalim in the Torah calls them “heroes of old and the warriors of renown.”

Apocryphal texts such as the Book of Enoch provide additional clues about the Nephilim / Anakim people, but these texts are generally regarded by academics as lacking validity because they were omitted from the official biblical cannon. However, the term apocrypha comes from the Greek roots apo (away) and krytein (to hide or conceal). This would suggest that these books were not omitted due to a lack of validity, but, rather, were deliberately hidden for some other reason, perhaps political or theological. Some things, it seems, never change.

The Book of Enoch, Section I, Chapters 6-7 refers to the Nephilim like this:

“And they [ homo sapien women] became pregnant, and they bare great giants: Who consumed all acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.”

The academic position on these Nephilim / Anakim accounts is that the fundamental, literal interpretation of them is deeply flawed, and rightfully so. Mythology cannot be automatically accepted at face value. However, therein lies a contradiction because the mainstream academics automatically reject any historical value in these accounts, which is equally flawed reasoning, nothing more than fundamental figurative interpretation. This gives rise to a discerning question: is there archaeological/anthropological evidence to support these myths about the Nephilim / Anakim?

 

The Archaeology And Anthropology Of The Anasazi

Early American archaeology is filled with reports of human remains that exhibited unique physical traits and theories of a vanished ethnic group. However, this narrative was rejected by the academic authorities of the time, including the Smithsonian and the National Geographical Society, even though it was their own experts advancing such theories. Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah are littered with strange ruins and petroglyphs that are vaguely attributed to tribes that preceded modern Native Americans.

In a National Geographic article from 2016, Aaron Sidder explored the odd reality that the ruling elite of Chaco Culture had six fingers and toes, hence the title of the article “Extra Fingers and Toes Were Revered in Ancient Culture.” The article states that anthropologist Patricia Crown from the University of New Mexico was originally fascinated by the “divine powers attributed to polydactyls among the Maya.” Polydactyls are humans with extra fingers or toes. Crown goes on to summarize her team’s findings at Chaco Canyon, “We found that people with six toes especially, were common and seemed to be associated with important ritual structures and high-status objects like turquoise.”

Six fingered hand and six toed footprints impressed upon the plaster walls of ancient structures have also been discovered. However, it is important to note that these structures themselves are not fully understood. It is known that there were dwellings and ritual structures, but why exactly these subterranean ritual spaces (known as kivas) were dug into the ground and why so many were fashioned in a honeycomb design is unknown.

The location of the structures also raises questions. It’s clear that there were certain geographic, geometric, and astronomical alignments taken into account by the ancient builders of these structures. But these areas are generally poor locations for accessing natural resources.

It is also worth noting that when Europeans first encountered the Native American tribes in question, the materials they commonly used were bone, wood, and animal skins. The kiva structures were already abandoned, and these later tribes lived nomadically. In other words, there seems to be a significant disconnect between the culture of stone masons, settled in one area, and the nomadic tribes. Many of the Anasazi structures also show signs of possible destruction by warfare as their walls are discolored by fire.

Archaeological Evidence of Anasazi Cannibalism/Ritual Murder

In January of 2000, scholars Billman, Lambert, and Banks published an article in the Cambridge University Press regarding Mesa Verde , which is another Anasazi site in southwestern Colorado. This article reports their team’s discovery of cannibalism at the site. “Cut marks and percussion scars implicate humans in the disarticulation and reduction of these bodies. Evidence of heat exposure on some bone fragments and laboratory analyses of human coprolite recovered from one of the pit houses support the interpretation that people prepared and consumed human body parts.”

Another Anasazi site within Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly contains gruesome discoveries which led researchers to some odd speculations. As stated in a Gutenberg project report: “Among the discoveries no bones of animals have been found, no skins, no clothing, no bedding. Many of the rooms are bare but for water vessels. One room, about 40 by 700 feet, was probably the main dining hall, for cooking utensils are found here. What these people lived on is a problem, though it is presumed that they came south in the winter and farmed in the valleys, going back north in the summer. One theory is that the present Indian tribes found in Arizona are descendants of the serfs or slaves of the people which inhabited the cave. Undoubtedly, a good many thousands of years before the Christian era, a people lived here which reached a high stage of civilization. The remains of 14 infants were found in a slab-lined cist used earlier as a storage bin. Below the infants were the bodies of four other children packed in an enormous basket.”

In Utah’s Dry Fork Canyon, petroglyphs adorn primordial stone walls, and these glyphs tell ancient stories of violence. At the Fermont petroglyphs for instance, a figure interestingly known as “big foot man” (due to his disproportionate foot size) is depicted with a cone-shaped head, six fingers, who seems to be proudly displaying decapitated victims. Another glyph at McConkie Ranch shows a horned figure brandishing a bloody weapon illustrated through the use of a red pigment.

Skeletons in the Closet?

In 1911, at Lovelock Cave in Nevada, guano miners discovered a trove of ancient bones and artifacts. Then from 1912 to 1965 a series of haphazard and suspicious excavations occurred at the site during which tens-of-thousands of objects, including duck decoys, moccasins, weapons, and strange human remains, were recovered. The controversy and scientific misconduct travesty regarding these remains goes beyond the scope of a single article, but suffice it to say that large human remains were discovered and were, at one point, stored not displayed, at the Humboldt Museum in Winnemucca Nevada. These artifacts have been examined and photographed many times. However, currently, authorities claim the remains have been repatriated back to the Native Americans out of respect for their ancient ways.

It’s important to point out that without genetic testing it’s impossible to determine with certainty exactly which tribe these remains belong to, and there has been no published laboratory analysis of these remains. Furthermore, the artifacts in the museum are mostly replicas while the vast majority of the more than ten-thousand objects are in the possession of the Smithsonian and are not on display.

But just looking at the fragments of information available some disturbing conclusions can be drawn. For instance, in the photographs it is evident that some of the skulls had teeth that were apparently filed to a sharp point, which is a customary practice also found amongst certain Polynesian tribes who practiced cannibalism. Also, within the fine print of these reports are measurements of at least one skeleton. It was 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall and the mandibles, bone density, and ocular cavities suggest that these were very large, very muscular people with abnormal eyes.

The Archaeology And Anthropology Of The Anakim

Before delving into the texts, artifacts, and remains regarding the people who preceded the ancient Canaanites (the Anakim), it’s important to touch on the fact that cultures like the Philistines, Canaanites, and Phoenicians are not well understood. The boundaries of their civilization, their genetics, and cultural assimilation patterns are an extremely complex web that is still mostly a mystery.

But there is strong evidence for the notion that the Carthaginians, Philistines, and Phoenicians were all offshoot branches of the same original civilization: the Canaanites. It is not disputed that the Phoenician homeland was in the Levant. The ancient Egyptian accounts suggest the people from Carthage referred to themselves as Kenaani or Kinaani which equates to Canaanite.

Another complication is that the modern nations beneath which the Canaanite civilizations are buried make archaeological digs challenging. Many of the areas have been mired in perpetual conflict, their borders are disputed, and there are constant geopolitical hostilities, all of which make painstaking excavation nearly impossible.

In 2005, despite these obstacles, Dr. Aren Maeir, professor at BarIlan University in Israel and director of an excavation at the ancient city of Gath, discovered pottery shards with the name Goliath inscribed on them. The biblical combatant Goliath was said to be the greatest warrior of the Philistines. He was said to be 8.0-9.5 feet (2.4-2.9 meters) tall, had six fingers on each hand, six toes on each foot, and he was known as the Goliath of Gath.

The shard is dated to around 950 BC, which is within seventy years of the alleged biblical existence of Goliath. Of course, this shard does not prove the biblical tale. It does however lend a small degree of credence to it. Many other large, polydactyl, barbarians are described in biblical books such as Samuel, Deuteronomy, and Chronicles. The Nephilim-Anakim family tree included additional lineage branches like the Rephaim and Zamzummim. Figures such as Lahmi, the brother of Goliath, who was also slain during the conquest, was said to be very large with six digits on each extremity.

King Og of Bashan is perhaps the most interesting of these Anakim figures because his great size and strength are mentioned in correlation with a structure and an area in the region. In the Deuteronomy, it is stated that Og is the last of the Rephaim and that his enormous bedstead, or sarcophagus, was still a site of wonder for many people.

The entire Levant, from Turkey to Egypt, is dotted with field after field of ancient dolmens. In this particular Canaan region, there is a site known as Rujm el-Hiri , which is connected with the Anakim people. This site has many names, but one modern Hebrew name for the site is Gilgal Refaim or “the wheel of the giant.” The central section of this site matches the dimensions stated in Deuteronomy but also shares uncanny similarities to the mysterious structures at Chaco Canyon. Structural resemblance in and of itself would not be noteworthy. But an enigmatic megalith of concentric stone circles that allegedly contains the remains of a very large polydactyl is beyond noteworthy.

Archaeological Evidence Of Canaanite Anakim Ritual Murder

There is a wealth of ancient textual evidence to suggest that the Canaanites (and therefore the Anakim) practiced human sacrifice/infanticide to an extent that exceeds what has been “found” in the Bible or chapters removed from the original Bible.

Greek and Roman authors all recorded accounts that reinforced the idea that sacrifice/infanticide was common with the Anakim. Authors like Plutarch and Herodotus, for example, attest to this in their writings. However, it must be stated that Greece, Rome, and Israel were all competitors of the Canaanites and therefore may not be entirely reliable sources for Anakim accounts.

But in 2014, Dr. Josephine Quinn of Oxford University uncovered definitive evidence of infant sacrifice at a variety of Phoenician/Carthaginian/Canaanite colonies across the Mediterranean declaring “What we are saying now is that the archaeological, literary, and documentary evidence for child sacrifice is overwhelming and that instead of dismissing it out of hand, we should try and understand it.” Her evidence, published in the journal Antiquity, indicates the practice occurred from around 800 BC to 146 BC at a variety of Canaanite colonies in Carthage, Sicily, Sardinia, and Malta. The Malta site is well known for its subterranean sacred spaces and remains exhibiting unique physical traits. But these remain have suspiciously gone missing.

This old drawing shows King Og of Bashan, an Anakim, as giant. Note the other giants in the upper right part of the drawing. (Gustave Doré / Public domain )

From Fact To Fiction And Back Again

While legends cannot be blindly accepted at face value, empirical evidence indicates the presence in the ancient past of genetically unique humans who practiced ritualistic murder, mutilation, and cannibalism.

They were large, red-haired polydactyls, master masons, astronomers, and seafarers. They were renowned for their bloodlust and combat capability.

It cannot be stated as fact that the Anasazi originated in Canaan, home of the Anakim, but it can be stated that such stark cultural and genetic parallels cannot be mere coincidence.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11125

BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN JERUSALEM DISCOVER RARE 2,000-YEAR OLD RING ENGRAVED WITH IMAGE OF THE SUN GOD APOLLO SHEDDING LIGHT ON IDOLATRY

The profile of Apollo has long flowing hair spilling over his sturdy neck. He has a large nose, thick lips, and small prominent chin, according to the press release. The styled hair is braided above his forehead, with long curls reaching the shoulder. All of this adds up to the god Apollo in the eyes of a trained archaeologist. “You cannot miss it,” Shukron said. The question then arises, what is a nice Jewish neighborhood such as 1st century CE Jerusalem doing with a pagan Greek god?

by Geoffrey Grider October 29, 2020

Discovery of a rare 2,000-year-old signet ring engraved with the Greek sun god Apollo gives new evidence of a pluralistic Jewry walking the streets of ancient Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, archaeologist Eli Shukron told The Times of Israel.

 

In various places in the New Testament, we read about the open idol worship that was taking place in First Century Jerusalem, something that the apostle Paul had to deal with on a regular basis. So with that in mind, it is fascinating  that biblical archaeologists have found a ring engraved with the image of the Greek god Apollo.

“But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?” Acts 19:34,35 (KJB)

The counterfeit of the Devil has always existed alongside the real thing from God, and right up to the Second Advent, it always will. Many cultures have a flood legend, a madonna and child legend, and the list goes on and on. Jesus Christ created His Church at the cross 2,000 years ago, and the Devil created his fake church in the declining years of the Roman empire 300 years after that. Nice to see that 21st century researchers are finally catching up to the dusty, archaic, old King James Bible.

FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: “It allows us to see a Jerusalem that wasn’t some kind of ultra-Orthodox city, it was more pluralistic,” Shukron said, who is convinced the ring would have adorned a Jew’s finger. The fact that a Jew chose the symbol of a Greek god, “shows the wide variety of practices in Jerusalem. Everyone was a Jew, but there were different groups and perspectives,” he said. he dark brown jasper gem sealing (intaglio) was recently discovered at the Archaeological Sifting Project at Tzurim Valley National Park during the wet sifting of earth taken from ongoing City of David excavations of the foundations of the Western Wall.

Shukron said there is absolutely no doubt that it is Apollo who is engraved on the tiny, oval-shaped, 13 millimeter-long, 11 millimeter-wide, and 3 millimeter-thick sealing. It would usually have been used as a signature stamp on beeswax to seal contracts, letters, wills, and goods or bundles of money, according to a City of David press release. The profile of Apollo has long flowing hair spilling over his sturdy neck. He has a large nose, thick lips, and small prominent chin, according to the press release. The styled hair is braided above his forehead, with long curls reaching the shoulder.

ALL OF THIS ADDS UP TO THE GOD APOLLO IN THE EYES OF A TRAINED ARCHAEOLOGIST. “YOU CANNOT MISS IT,” SHUKRON SAID. THE QUESTION THEN ARISES, WHAT IS A NICE JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD SUCH AS 1ST CENTURY CE JERUSALEM DOING WITH A PAGAN GREEK GOD?

According to Shukron, there are already a handful of archaeological artifacts dated to the Second Temple period in which Apollo plays a starring role: Two other Apollo gem sealings were discovered at Masada and another two were found in Jerusalem, one also from the Western Wall drainage tunnels excavations and one in a tomb on Mount Scopus. Shukron noted that whereas during the Roman period, other members of the Greek and Roman pantheon make appearances, for the centuries surrounding the turn of the Common Era, only Apollo has been found. The god symbolized light, health and general well-being and success — something everyone generally aspires to, he said, which is why the symbol was considered “kosher” for these Second Temple Jews.

“IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEE THAT JERUSALEM IS MORE THAN CONSERVATISM, THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE THIS WHO [AS EVIDENCED BY HIS ADOPTION OF A PAGAN SYMBOL AS HIS SIGNATURE] WOULD HAVE HAD MORE FREEDOM IN THEIR THINKING,” SAID SHUKRON. WHAT IS ALSO CLEAR, THROUGH HIS VERY PUBLIC USE OF THE SYMBOL, IS THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A GROUP OF JEWS WHO ACCEPTED THIS USAGE AS WELL.

Expert of engraved gems Prof. Shua Amorai-Stark made an assessment of the sealing and noted that “at the end of the Second Temple period, the sun god Apollo was one of the most popular and revered deities in Eastern Mediterranean regions. Apollo was a god of manifold functions, meanings, and epithets. Among Apollo’s spheres of responsibility, it is likely that association with sun and light (as well as with logic, reason, prophecy, and healing) fascinated some Jews, given that the element of light versus darkness was prominently present in Jewish worldview in those days,” he said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11062

WAQF FILLS IN NEWLY DISCOVERED TEMPLE MOUNT TUNNEL WITH CONCRETE

BY ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ | BIBLICAL NEWS

In the days to come, The Mount of Hashem‘s House Shall stand firm above the mountains And tower above the hills; And all the nations Shall gaze on it with joy. Isaiah 2:2 (The Israel BibleTM)

Last week, the entrance to an underground tunnel complex on the Temple Mount. The potential for important archaeological discoveries connected to the tunnel are enormous but on Tuesday, the Waqf (Muslim authority) filled in the tunnel entrance with concrete. 

Last week, a broken flagstone on the Temple Mount revealed a tunnel, approximately two feet square, descending several yards where it seems to join up with a larger tunnel. The entrance is located in the southern end of the Temple Mount,  between the Aqsa Mosque and the Mughrabi Gate. Dr. Zachi Dvira, an Israeli archaeologist from Bar-Ilan University, confirmed that the shaft was from the Second Temple Period.

“This is from the part of the Temple Mount that Herod added later,” Dr. Dvira said. “It was part of the Temple Complex, though not part of the Temple itself.”

Dr. Dvira co-directs the Temple Mount Sifting Project which began in 2004 to recover archaeological artifacts contained within debris removed from the Temple Mount without proper archaeological care during illegal construction carried out by the Waqf. In 1999, approximately 9,000 tons of archaeologically-rich soil were removed from the Temple Mount by the Waqf, using heavy earth moving equipment and without a preceding salvage excavation or proper archaeological care, following works in and around the newly constructed underground el-Marwani Mosque.

“Unfortunately, it was to be expected that the Waqf would fill in the entrance to the tunnel,” Dr. Dvira said. “The Israeli Antiquities Authority did not act fast enough. They should have gone in and checked it out. This is their responsibility. This has religious and archaeological ramifications.”

According to classical Jewish sources, the Ark of the Covenant is hidden under the Temple Mount in a specially prepared underground chamber.

“This does not destroy the tunnel. It can be removed but it is preventing the tunnel from being researched. If the IAA would have filled it in but not with concrete. Currently, Israel is not initiating any research on the Temple Mount because that would upset the Muslims.”

Dr. Dvira noted that under the new normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates, the Israeli government is hoping that the Temple Mount will attract Muslim pilgrims from other countries. “The Israeli government does not want to jeopardize the relationship with other Muslim nations. It may even be that the government encouraged the Waqf to fill in the tunnel to prevent the possibility of unrest.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10871

KING HEZEKIAH’S ADMINISTRATIVE COMPOUND DISCOVERED NEXT TO US EMBASSY, JERUSALEM

In the fourteenth year of King Chizkiyahu, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched against all the fortified towns of Yehuda and seized them. Kings 18:13 (The Israel BibleTM)

by BIN staff | Jul 22, 2020 | Biblical News

An Israel Antiquities Authority excavation on the slopes of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona uncovered an administrative complex from 2,7000 years ago. (Yaniv Berman, Israel Antiquities Authority)

What challenge was the Kingdom of Judah preparing for 2,700 years ago in today’s Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem and can it be related to a dramatic historical event?

A significant administrative storage center from the days of Kings Hezekiah and Manasseh (8th century to the middle of the 7th century BCE) has recently been exposed at archeological excavations in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The excavation conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority is funded by the Israel Land Authority and administrated by the Moriah Jerusalem Development Corporation for the development of a new neighborhood.

Excavation at the site revealed an unusually large structure built of concentric ashlars walls. Of particular interest, 120 jar handles were found bearing seal impressions containing ancient Hebrew script. Many of the handles bare the inscription “LMLK” – (belonging) to the King- with the name of an ancient city, while others feature the names of senior officials or wealthy individuals from the First Temple Period. This is one of the largest and most important collections of seal impressions ever uncovered in archaeological excavations in Israel.

According to Neria Sapir and Nathan Ben-Ari, directors of the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is one of the most significant discoveries from the period of the Kings in Jerusalem made in recent years. At the site we excavated, there are signs that governmental activity managed and distributed food supplies not only for shortage but administered agricultural surplus amassing commodities and wealth. Evidence shows that at this site, taxes were collected in an orderly manner for agricultural produce such as wine and olive oil.

“The site once dominated large agricultural plots and orchards of olive trees and grape vines which included agricultural industrial facilities such as winepresses for winemaking. The site is dated to a period documented in the Bible by upheavals such as that of the Assyrian conquest campaign – under the command of King Sennacherib in the days of King Hezekiah.

“It may be that the government economic provisions indicated by the stamp seals are related to these events however, the excavation revealed that the site continued to be active after the Assyrian conquest. Moreover, the array of stamped seals indicated that the system of taxation remained uninterrupted during this period.

“It is interesting to note that some of the storage jar handles area inscribed with the names of senior officials and wealthy individuals from the Kingdom of Judah – Naham Abdi, Naham Hatzlihu, Meshalem Elnatan, Zafan Abmetz, Shaneah Azaria, Shalem Acha and Shivna Shachar. These names appear on storage jar handles at various sites across the Kingdom of Judah and attest to the elite position of those whose names are impressed on the jars.

“It is estimated that these are senior officials who were in charge of specific economic areas, or perhaps wealthy individuals at that time – those who owned large agricultural lands, propelled the economy of their district, and owned private seals.”

The excavators also posit that the large number of seal impressions at the site clearly indicate that during the latter part of the Kingdom of Judah, governmental activity took place in the area south of the City of David. It is also possible that this governmental activity was related to the nearby site of Ramat Rachel, which may be identified with the palace of the Kings of Judah and/or as an administrative center.

The majority of the seal impressions uncovered contain the ancient Hebrew letters “LMLK.” These impressions are characterized by a sun disk, flanked with two wings. Above the sun disc appears the word ‘to the King’ and below one of four cities in the kingdom of Judah: Hebron, Ziph, Socho or Mmst. According to Sapir and Ben-Ari, while the identification of Hebron, Ziph and Socho can be identified with known ancient cities in Judea in the Hebron Hills area, the identification of Mmst is still controversial.”

During the ancient period, for reasons not understood, the large building at the site was covered over with a massive pile of flint stones forming an artificial hill measuring 20 meters high and extending over seven dunams (!). Even today, this huge pile of stones stands out from the surrounding hills and is visible from a great distance. According to the researchers, “These artificial stone hills have been identified at several sites in Jerusalem and are a phenomenon to the end of the First Temple period and have aroused the curiosity and fascination of Jerusalem researchers since the beginning of archeological research in the area. Nevertheless, the reason for the huge effort made in stacking them over many acres remains an unresolved archaeological mystery.”

Another find that sheds light on the character of the period is a collection of figurines – clay statuettes. According to archaeologists Sapir and Ben-Ari, “Some of the figurines are designed in the form of women, horse riders or as animals. These figurines are usually interpreted as objects used in pagan worship and idolatry – a phenomenon, which according to the Bible, was prevalent in the Kingdom of Judah.”

The researchers added that, “It seems that shortly after the site was abandoned, with the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE and Babylonian exile, the site was resettled, and administrative activity resumed. During this time governmental activity at the site was connected to the Judean province upon the Return to Zion in 538 BCE under the auspices of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which then ruled over the entire ancient Near East and Central Asia.”

According to Dr. Yuval Baruch, the IAA Jerusalem District Archaeologist, “The archeological discoveries at Arnona identify the site as a key site – the most important in the history of the final days of the Kingdom of Judah and of the return to Zion decades after the destruction of the Kingdom. This site joins a number of other key sites uncovered in the area of Jerusalem which were connected to the centralized administrative system of the Kingdom of Judah from its peak until its destruction. The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Lands Authority recognize the importance of the site and its uniqueness and are working together to preserve and integrate these sites into the new neighborhood plan. This is part of the IAA’s trend of sustainable development which views archeological excavations as a resource that must be preserved and presented to the public as part of local heritage, and not just as an academic field of study.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10759

The Mont’e Prama Giants: A Massive Archaeological Mystery

1974, Sinis region, Sardinia (Oristano): the plow of a farmer being blocked by a piece of stone marked the beginning of a series of excavations in the area of Mont’e Prama, near the village of Cabras. Unable to continue plowing, the man got off the tractor and perplexedly examined an outcropping of stone. Digging with his hands, he pulled a huge head out of the ground. It had double-carved eyes, something he had never seen before and which no one else had laid eyes on for many centuries. Thus began the mystery of the Mont’e Prama Giants.

What came to light immediately held considerable importance: in the approximately 50 meters (164 ft.) that initially delimited the burial ground, there were numerous stone slabs that covered many tombs with large statues originally placed above them. The dating, at the time not completely certain, assigned the construction to the 9th century BC and was attributed to the families of local aristocrats. It was obviously a sacred complex of great importance. Never before had such an imposing and pronounced complex been found, with a form of statuary so unusual and older than the Greeks.

Reconstruction of a Mont’e Prama grave. (DedaloNur/CC BY SA 3.0)

Reconstruction of a Mont’e Prama grave. (DedaloNur/CC BY SA 3.0 )

The statues soon began to be studied, despite the scarcity of means and funds at the time, and boxers, archers and warriors soon were unearthed with models of nuraghe and betyls (from the Hebrew Beth-El, house of God) – stones of sacred value worked in a truncated cone shape, sometimes with quadrangular recesses.

Over time, 16 big statues of boxers emerged, all over two meters (6.56 ft.) tall and carrying a large shield raised over their heads and a glove armed with spikes on their right hands; six warriors were found with a round shield and armed with a sword, wearing  long, horned helmets; six archers also emerged from the earth with their quivers and a finely decorated bow in their left hands, as well as 13 menhir-like betyls and nuraghe models.

The finds began to be collected and catalogued and a selection of the more than 5000 fragments have been exhibited since 1980 at the museum of Cagliari.

In December 1979 the excavations stopped. The row of tombs showed slabs put at the ends as if to indicate the end of the burial ground. Tests carried out in the continuation both towards South and North and trenches towards the West gave negative results.

After 30 years, the numerous blocks were transferred to the center of Li Punti, where an analysis and intervention laboratory was set up to restore and study the statues with various types of scientific investigations. They were found to have realistic decorations on the shields, armor, and weapons.

Some of the Mont’e Prama Giants. (Author Provided)

Some of the Mont’e Prama Giants. (Author Provided)

About 30 years passed, in which the Giants , as they became known, were hosted in some exhibitions, and studies continued. But it was only in 2014, thanks to a University of Sardinia research project together with the Archaeological Superintendence of Cagliari that excavations resumed at the site where the Mont’e Prama Giants had been found; this brought new extraordinary finds to light.

In particular, two figures were found, one still with the head connected to the body, which are assumed to be magicians or priests. They differ from all the others because of their shoes – the other statues are for the most part barefoot – and a particular cone shaped headgear, curiously of the same type as a bronze statuette found in a tomb in Lazio (Vulci), where a Nuragic princess and her Etruscan husband were buried. And other Giants seem to be waiting for their turn to return to the light as well.

But why is the Mont’e Prama site so important?

The Most Extraordinary Archaeological Discovery of the 21st Century

The statues found at Mont’e Prama are unique, both in appearance and age. And they date back several centuries. In fact, before the discovery there was no news of such impressive artistic elements prior to the Greek and Etruscan statuary documented to the beginning of the seventh century BC. But the Giants changed everything and dealt a decisive blow to the usual perception classical archaeology had assigned to the Nuragic culture (second half of the 2nd millennium BC).

Mont’e Prama revealed a much more refined culture than was previously thought. It shows a culture that was able to produce an imposing sacred complex and the most ancient statues of the Mediterranean basin and Europe.

Bedini excavation (1975) of Mont’e Prama, Sardinia, Italy. (Public Domain)

Bedini excavation (1975) of Mont’e Prama, Sardinia, Italy. ( Public Domain )

From the findings we can understand that the Iron Age in Sardinia, from the 9th century BC, was an extremely varied and culturally active period. It seems clear that the island at this time was a crossroads of populations, cultural and artistic influences, and ideas; literally it was at the center of a specialized network of art and trade professionals. The Sardinian people exported their goods from Andalusia to Morocco and throughout the Mediterranean area in northern Africa.

Sardinia thus participated directly in the trade and perhaps assimilated construction techniques and stylistic influences, creating the first great statues in Europe. The constitutive peculiarities of the Giants, the highly suggestive eyes , the realistic decorations of the panoply (complete armor), the large shields, the imposing positions with the shield raised or the bent arms supporting the bow, clearly state that the creators of the Mont’e Prama area had access to avant-garde techniques for the time, and their work was very refined.

Not only that, the uniqueness of the complex and impressive statuary tells us that there were aristocracies so powerful and rich that they wanted to hand down their culture through a refined example that would last for many centuries. The site itself, as will be discovered through a new generation of geo-radar thanks to the geophysicist Prof. Gaetano Ranieri, is known to be much more extensive than what has emerged today, and it testifies to the considerable constructive and artistic skills of the people.

It is very interesting that this new vision of Sardinia offered by Mont’e Prama matches what is presented in  classical sources. According to Diodorus Siculus, the island was inhabited by the 50 sons of Heracles, conceived with the daughters of Thespius, the Thespiades. Supposedly the hero wanted to populate Sardinia before being hired by the Gods and sent his nephew Iolaus to lead the Thespiades to colonize Sardinia.

The result was a sort of paradise where the inhabitants produced valuable architectural works, gymnasiums, and courts – this was the image of a happy island. A tradition reported by Pseudo – Aristotle adds interesting notes about the advanced culture and art of the island, which in ancient times would have been scattered with temples of exquisite workmanship and fields cultivated with technologies that were unusually advanced for their time.

The Heroon of Mont’e Prama

The site is considered by many scholars to be a Heroon, a monumental sanctuary dedicated to a hero (or exemplary heroes) who became mythical or mythological over time. The area is located about two km (1.24 miles) from the pond of Cabras and is essentially formed by a series of 60 cockpit tombs with a depth between 70 and 80 cm (27.56-31.50 inches), aligned on a north-south vector, (others without slabs are located further east). They run alongside a road and many are covered by slabs about 20 cm (7.87 inches) thick, on which about 5,000 sculptural fragments of statues, betyls, and models of sandstone nuraghe were scattered.

The betyls are created with different materials than the statues. They are made of sandstone while the statues are of limestone. Sandstone is located a few kilometers from Mont’e Prama, while the limestone was extracted from the quarries between S’Archittu and Santa Caterina (Cuglieri) posing new questions about how the blocks were transported.

Various models of nuraghe have also been found that sometimes deviate from the classical image; they are rather complex: some of them even have eight towers (however, we do not have examples of this style in Sardinia) of various sizes joined by terraces to a larger central body. They are rather unusual and resemble  small medieval castles .

The beginning and the end of the burial ground is marked by two vertical sunken stones adjacent to the first and last tomb. About 20 meters (65.62 ft.) from them, to the west, are the remains of a Nuragic hut.

At the time of opening, all the tombs were devoid of any funerary equipment, except for number 25, which returned an Egyptian scarab from the 12th/ 11th century BC, reused in a necklace.

What Do the Mont’e Prama Giants Look Like?

The statues, carved from a single block of stone, mainly represent boxers, archers, and warriors with round shields, all of them around 2.30 meters (7.55 ft.) tall. Several of them have helmets with frontal horns, visible combat gloves, a cap on the head from which long braids descend, and large shields which are held above the head.

All of the statues show feet resting on irregular squares with well-outlined toes, well-shaped faces, and especially unique eyes, marked by a double concentric circle executed to perfection, and a pillar nose.

Head of one of the Mont’e Prama Giants. (spritz77 /Adobe Stock)

Head of one of the Mont’e Prama Giants. ( spritz77 /Adobe Stock)

The boxers are bare-chested, wearing a sort of triangular tip back skirt with perceivable closing laces, while the archers wear a tunic. The warriors also wear armor on their tunics. Archers are copies of Sardinian bronzes found everywhere in Sardinia and Etruria. Other elements present are the well-sculpted and visible greaves (leg guards), and in some cases a two-horned helmet. Quivers and sword sheaths are clearly visible.

An anthropological analysis conducted on recovered bone remains shows that they belong to young men. Radioactive carbon (C-14) dating places the site to between 1100 and 800 BC.

The Expanding Archaeological Site

Sardinian archaeological authorities state that the burials and other elements at the site suggest this was meant to be an imposing complex aimed at celebrating deceased nobles or exemplary ancestors who magnificently represent the best characteristics of the local civilization.

The construction methods identify three phases inserted chronologically between the 9th and the end of the 8th century BC: in the oldest one the tombs were excavated, in the second one the perimeter was delimited with a fence and stone slabs covered the tombs, and in the last phase the statues were made. These create an appropriate monumental decoration for a site of evident importance for the Nuragic civilization.

According to the 1st century historian Diodorus Siculus, between the 10th and 7th century BC warrior aristocracies developed in the area and imposed their power on other local people. It is commonly believed that these aristocracies commissioned the construction of the Heroon to glorify their success and their wealth.

The necropolis can also be framed in its cultural place through the evaluation of the populations that gravitated around the area. The hill of the site is in fact the home of several Nuragic structures . Unfortunately we do not know the exact date of these buildings and therefore we cannot directly link them with the necropolis.

However, other nearby Nuragic sites are certainly contemporary. Moreover, the Phoenician colony of Tharros was about 10 km (6.2 miles) away and it is certain that there was constant contact between the two areas due to the discovery of small Nuragic objects in Phoenician burial sites near Mont’e Prama. This could suggest the possibility of the two ethnic groups mixing.

Ruins of the Phoenician colony of Tharros. (Author provided)

Ruins of the Phoenician colony of Tharros. (Author provided)

Damnatio Memoriae

The excavations also outlined an interesting final epilogue to the history of the Mont’e Prama area: the destruction of the statues into thousands of pieces. Their heads were taken off and eye lines were erased in a sort of eternal damnatio memoriae . Someone has deliberately erased the traces of the civilization that produced the Mont’e Prama site. But who? When? And most importantly why?

It’s difficult to say with certainty, since there is no specific data about the event except a partial dating on the basis of the analyses carried out. The destruction of the statues, betyls, and all that surrounded the tombs took place before 300 BC. On the basis of this data, various hypotheses have been put forward; all are possible explanations for the destruction: a Carthaginian expedition, internal wars between the various tribes or local people to conquer the territory, Phoenician incursions of the nearby colony of Tharros, natural degradation of the stones, and the site being used as a landfill.

New Discoveries

The discovery of a monumental necropolis in an unimposing field far from hot springs and raw materials poses many questions, especially of its real intention. Was there anything like a built-up area or a shrine at Mont’e Prama that could justify the presence of a necropolis? A research project was set up involving the two universities of the island : on the technological side was the University of Cagliari, which was directed by Prof. G. Ranieri, and the archaeological side was covered by Prof. R. Zucca’s team from the University of Sassari.

In 2013 the Cagliari unit highlighted numerous possible archaeological structures. To the north and south of the old archaeological area they found circular (Nuragic huts?), rectangular (buildings?), linear and flat (roads?), elliptical (fences?), and row (tombs?) anomalies, and, nearby there were important scattered anomalies (statues?). Many innovative geophysical methods were used (multi-channel georadar, 3D electric tomography, thermal tomography, ARP, etc.) and the 7-hectare subsoil around the old archaeological site was scanned and digitally represented up to three meters (9.84 ft.) deep.

In 2014, multi-channel georadar immediately showed important anomalies. Prof. Zucca’s team, together with the Superintendence Department, verified the integrity of the method that was used with high precision (sometimes down to the centimeter.) They discovered two enormous beetles (2.35x 60 cm), lined with millenary furrows from plows and placed at the edge of two other groups of four tombs each.

More than 4000 finds were brought to light – feet, statue heads, busts with quivers, and many models of nuraghe. Further geophysical research discovered two unusual statues of unarmed people, one of which with its head still attached to the body. In 2015 the geophysical exploration of Prof. Ranieri’s unit led to the finding of another 8 hectares with important anomalies still waiting to be verified.

In 2015 / 2016 the Archaeological Superintendence of Cagliari, with the participation in 2017 of the University of Sassari, carried out extensive research outside the area of the 1974-1979 findings, verifying the archaeological correspondence of the anomalies found in 2014 by Prof. Ranieri’s team. Other elements (a monumental wall) excavated by the Superintendence in the N-NW direction corresponds to the anomalies revealed by the electrical and Georadar investigations.

It is obvious that there is a vast, hidden universe under the surface just waiting to be brought to light.

The author would like to sincerely thank Prof. G. Ranieri and Prof. R. Zucca for their kind help in drafting this article.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10488